Play The Game

Twenty-Two stalwarts in stripes and shorts
Kicking a ball along,
Set in a square of leather-lunged sports
Twenty-two thousand strong,
Some of them shabby, some of them spruce,
Savagely clamorous all,
Hurling endearments, advice or abuse,
At the muscular boys on the ball.

Stark and stiff 'neath a stranger's sky
A few hundred miles away,
War-worn, khaki-clad figures lie,
Their faces rigid and grey
Stagger and drop where the bullets swarm,
Where the shrapnel is bursting loud,
Die, to keep England safe and warm
For a vigorous football crowd !

Football's a sport, and a rare sport too,
Don't make it a source of shame.
To-day there are worthier things to do.
Englishmen, play the game!
A truce to the League, a truce to the Cup,
Get to work with a gun,
When our country's at war we must all back up
It's the only thing to be done!

by Jessie Pope

Other poems of POPE (55)

Comments (9)

she used propaganda to make war seem like a game witch is a very sick thing to do
amazing i felt a tear go down my face
In peace or war, such words never more worthy to be said and heard.
Football and war the topics of one poem. Let me ponder the vagaries of man that they appear in the same poem together
When she says PLAY THE GAME, she's really saying COME JOIN THE ARMY! It's a call to war, not to a game of football.
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